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A Safe Guide For Life

By: Keith R. Keyser

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1–2 (Boldface mine.)

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.

 

(Levi & Zeb running; photo by NLK, all rights reserved.)

 

Rob Matthews, a British Para-Olympic running champion, recently died. It is fascinating to read of the challenges faced by blind runners and the admirable perseverance that they display. In order to compete, they run the race loosely linked by a small rope intertwined around their fingers to a seeing guide. This person must match their speed, stride, and pace, as well as shout directions as they function as surrogate eyes for the blind athlete. Obviously, this process requires closeness between the pair; they must strive for completely harmonious cooperation. Such a partnership, reminded me of the Christian’s need to run the race of life closely tethered to our Guide: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Before returning to His Father’s house, the Son of God promised to send another Comforter, who would guide the apostles into all truth (John 14:25-26.) The Holy Spirit thus is a guide living within believers, but He chiefly manifests the Son’s things to them (John 16:12-15.) Put another way, He shows us the riches of our heavenly bridegroom, who is the inheritor of all of His Father’s wealth (Gen. 24:33-41, 53, 65) Accordingly, Christians are to run the race looking to the risen, glorified Christ, by Spirit-led prayer and reading of God’s Word.

What a wonder it is that God accommodates Himself to have a relationship with His creatures! The infinite, All-wise God commits Himself to be our guide through life’s challenges and triumphs. He promises to bring us safely to the Father’s house; this is the side of the truth that demonstrates Divine sovereignty. On the human responsibility side, true believers recognize that they must run the race and finish it in the power of the Spirit (Phil. 2:12-13) We do not coast over the finish line on automatic pilot. Nor does God carry us to the podium with no conscious participation on our part. We must run! As Paul said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7, NKJV (Boldface mine.)

Apart from our Guide’s wisdom and power, we could never begin – much less continue our course. Therefore, every step ought to be tailored to His pace – we follow His lead. We must not run ahead, but we also may not lag behind. Linked to the Father through His Son and empowered by His Spirit, we run the race, ultimately triumphing with the One who has shared His victory with us by making us more than conquerors.

Horatius Bonar summed up our need for guidance in this beautiful hymn:

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be!
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might:
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So shall I walk aright.

The kingdom that I seek
Is Thine; so let the way
That leads to it be Thine,
Else I must surely stray.

Take Thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem;
Choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health;
Choose Thou my cares for me,
My poverty or wealth.

Not mine, not mine the choice,
In things both great or small;
Be thou my guide, my strength,
My wisdom and my all.[1]

  1. Horatius Bonar, The Better Land: Poems by Horatius Bonar and Others. (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1888), 6-8. ↑